A man who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 had to undergo a double lung transplant after contracting the virus.
Blake Bargatze, 24, of Sugar Hill, Georgia, was the only member of his family not to receive the vaccine because he was concerned about side effects
However, his family believes he contracted COVID-19 while attending a concert in Florida — and his health rapidly deteriorated, reported WSB-TV.
Bargatze spent three months in intensive care at three different hospitals before undergoing the procedure.
Now in rehab for months, his family says he wished he’d gotten the vaccine and wants to warn others about getting it so they don’t risk the same thing happening to them.
Blake Bargatze, 24, of Sugar Hill, Georgia, recently had a double lung transplant after contracting COVID-19. In the photo: Bargatze in the hospital before the operation
Bargatze’s family (left and right, before the surgery) said he had not been vaccinated because he was afraid of side effects. It is believed he contracted the virus in Florida during an indoor concert and his health deteriorated rapidly
Bargatze’s mother, Cheryl Nuclo, told WSB-TV that her son has been a regular vape, but has no pre-existing conditions.
Although every member of his family had received the vaccine, the 24-year-old said he wanted to wait.
“He wanted to wait a few years to see if there are any side effects or anything else,” said Paul Nuclo, his stepfather.
“But as soon as he got to the hospital, he said he wished he’d gotten the vaccine.”
Bargatze attended an indoor live music show in Florida, where he believes he may have contracted the virus.
“He had called me that Friday when he got the results and he said, ‘Mom, you’re going crazy. I have COVID,” Cheryl said.
Within days, Bargatze’s health deteriorated rapidly.
On April 10, according to a GoFundMe page, he was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) at St Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Bargatze was then transported by air ambulance to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital on April 24 and placed on an Extracorporal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine.
The machine, usually used for people with heart and lung problems, pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest.
He received his new pair of lungs on June 28 and is now awaiting six to eight months of recovery and rehabilitation. Pictured: Bargatze after the double lung transplant
His family says he now wishes he had gotten the vaccine and wants his story to be a reminder of how serious COVID-19 can be. Pictured: Bargatze before surgery
During his hospital stay, his lungs suffered extensive damage and he was transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center on June 12.
After more than two weeks, a pair of donor lungs was found for Bargatze and on June 28 he underwent a double lung transplant.
According to a GoFundMe page, he will have to stay in Baltimore for recovery and rehabilitation between six and eight.
Cheryl and her son want Bargatze’s story to be a reminder of the damage the disease can do without a vaccine.
‘Maybe if some people were a bit on the fence'[about getting vaccinated] and waving, he wants them to see what could be the extreme of what could happen,” Cheryl told WBS-TV.
“Don’t use fear tactics, but it can happen. I just don’t want anyone else to go through this.”
Bargatze’s medical journey is similar to that across the country.
Health officials in states like Arkansas and Mississippi report that more than 90 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.